ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud city council will consider extending a program tonight (Monday) aimed at kick-starting new home construction in the city.

Last July the council voted to reduce building fees for building new homes by $1,500.  That reduction expired at the end of 2012.

Tonight the council will hold a public hearing, and decide if they want to extend the plan, through the end of this year - or the first 35 homes - whichever comes first.

The reduced fees for the second half of last year seemed to have some success.  A total of 32 building permits were issued from July through December.  The cap was set at 35.  Only 13 new homes were built in St. Cloud during the same period in 2011, and 23 in 2010.  Those numbers are a far cry from the whopping 309 new homes that were built in St. Cloud in 2005.

Council member George Hontos proposed the plan last summer, saying at the time that it would help create construction jobs, and make existing lots more attractive and ultimately generate more tax revenue for the city than if the lots remained empty.